The guy who plays the fascist President in Succession was in a long-lost alt rock band and they actually weren't terrible

A screenshot from an episode of succession showing Jeryd Mencken talking to Logan Roy
(Image credit: HBO)

At first glance, you might recognise actor Justin Kirk best for his recent turn in the hugely popular HBO show Succession. Playing Jeryd Mencken, the far right presidential candidate who was absolutely, definitely not based on any other unrepentantly bigoted, polarising, and self-serving Presidents America may have seen in recent years, Kirk's role in the show played an important part in emphasising how an unchecked, omnipotent media can wreak utter havoc when combined with political corruption.

But Kirk had a past life. 

Before he found fame as a jobbing actor – first on Broadway, and then on screens large and small – Kirk was one quarter of long-lost and little-known alt.rock group The Dimestore Darlings.

Their origin story is a familiar one: it was 1993 and alternative rock was everywhere. Buoyed by a sense that popular culture finally belonged to the kids and anyone could be a part of it, Kirk answered an advert placed in The Village Voice by Jay Wilkins, calling for fans of the Replacements keen to try their hand at forming a band of their own. Some weeks later the band was fully assembled, with Kirk and Wilkins splitting vocals and guitar parts between them, joined by Aaron Conte – also cutting his teeth in a nascent iteration of Nada Surf – on drums and Queens local Steve O’Donnell on bass. 

The tale that unfolds is one of chaotic CBGBs shows which rivalled their heroes the Mats in terms of 'so shambolic it's actually going to completely fall apart' energy, equally as chaotic recording sessions which saw them pinching Nile Rodgers' bass during illicit, late-night vodka-fuelled recording sessions, before an inter-band love triangle tore the group apart in 1996.

They did, however, emerge with a handful of pretty decent EPs, and a collection of songs which lay bare their worship of the likes of Hüsker Dü, Cheap Trick and Soul Asylum. All their recorded songs have now been compiled into one album and whacked up on Bandcamp under the title The Legend Of The Dimestore Darlings.

You can hear it in full below.

Briony Edwards

Briony is the Editor in Chief of Louder and is in charge of sorting out who and what you see covered on the site. She started working with Metal Hammer, Classic Rock and Prog magazines back in 2015 and has been writing about music and entertainment in many guises since 2009. She is a big fan of cats, Husker Du and pizza.